Former Maui official sentenced for ‘outrageous’ role in state’s largest-ever bribery scheme
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A federal judge on Wednesday sentenced a former Maui wastewater official to 10 years in prison for bribery, in what the judge called the largest public graft scheme he’s ever seen in Hawaii.
U.S. District Court Judge Derrick Watson also ordered Stewart Stant to serve three years of supervised release and to forfeit $1.9 million of the $2 million in bribes that he accepted.
“The money went ... to let you live your life like a king, like you won the lottery,” said Watson.
Stant pleaded guilty to accepting bribes from Honolulu businessman Milton Choy. In exchange, he steered $19 million in non-bid contracts to Choy’s industrial cleaning company.
Federal prosecutors said Stant spent much of the bribe money on first-class trips to Las Vegas, hostess bars and mortgage payments for his Maui home.
“The behavior was outrageous. On every front, you were talking about a man selling and betraying the public trust for his own personal benefits,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Ken Sorenson.
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“It was just an ongoing systematic bribery scheme,” said Sorenson.
Stant’s lawyer asked for a lesser sentence, saying he didn’t have a criminal record and cooperated with federal investigators.
Stant had nothing to say as he left the courthouse, but inside the courtroom, he apologized for his behavior, saying, “I regret what I did, and I am truly sorry.”
The judge ordered him to start his sentence on April 6 at a federal prison on the mainland.
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